One of my favorite Greek dishes is shrimp with baked feta, which is often served in a tangy tomato sauce and makes for fantastic small plates for a casual meal. I say casual because to properly cook the shrimp, you’ll need leave the shells and heads on, which makes for a mess best saved for friends.
I was tinkering with some favorite shrimp dishes – one from New Orleans and the other the Greece – and came up with an amazing one-pot meal that is great for lunch or dinner.
I prefer fresh shrimp with shells on, or even full shrimp with the heads on. Sure, it can be messier, but it slows the meal so people can talk and dig through their shrimp at the same time. Turn the grill on, popping hot, and char some hearty slices of crusty bread to serve with the shrimp and sauce.
- 1 pound fresh shrimp with shells on and preferably the head intact, but take a pair of sturdy kitchen scissors and de-vein each one, leaving the shell on. This makes the shrimp easier to de-shell and, well, the vein is disgusting.
- 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter, separated
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, plus extra for topping
- 1 1/4 cup shallots, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup basil, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup tomatoes sauce, either homemade or Rao’s marinara sauce, heated in a separate pan
- Maldon salt
- 1 cup top quality Greek feta in brine, drained and cut into small chunks
- 1/4 cup chives, finely chopped
- 6 slices of a crusty load of hearty bread, grilled on a high heat to the char marks from the grill show
- Take a small dutch oven or heavy pan (think Le Courset or Staub) and put over medium heat. Add 4 tablespoons of butter, olive oil and red pepper flakes and wait until it bubbles, then add the shallots, tomatoes, bell pepper, basil and garlic and sauté until the shallots are translucent and the tomatoes blister.
- Add the wine and Worcestershire and bring to a boil on high heat, then return to medium. Add a tablespoon of salt and let reduce for 5 minutes, then add the 4 remaining tablespoons of butter. Add the shrimp and sauté for 3 minutes, then add the tomato sauce and cook until the shrimp are pink – about two to three minutes longer depending on their size. Remember that they will continue to cook in the pot after removed from the heat.
- Garnish with basil, chives, red pepper flakes and the feta cheese, then serve with grilled bread.